Choose from 7 Fun Things to Do in Moab
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Adrenaline junkies will find their fix on Cataract Canyon's raging white waters. Several stretches of class five rapids push even the most expert rafters past their limits in what can only be described as one of Utah's best white water scenes.
With telling names like Big Drop, Little Niagara, Satan's Gut and The Claw, it's no wonder Cataract Canyon attracts thrill seekers from across the globe. The roaring river winds through scenic Canyonlands National Park and several slow-flow areas allow travelers to recover from challenging waves while taking in the incredible mountain scenery. A trip through Cataract Canyon is sure to be a wet, wild and memorable adventure!
Top rafting conditions last from May to early June, but white water outfitters agree that latecomers can still enjoy difficult rides in early July, too.
Address: Moab, Utah, USA
From $ 425
Set in the high desert of the American Southwest, Canyonlands National Park comprises 337,598 acres (136,621 hectares) of rugged landscape divided into four distinct districts by the Green and Colorado rivers. Deep craters, towering rock spires, white cliffs, and majestic buttes dominate the landscape of Utah’s largest national park.
There are many ways to explore the park, though a majority of visitors do so by driving a 34-mile (55-kilometer) scenic loop through the popular Island in the Sky district. The Needles district attracts hikers, while the Maze rewards those who make the effort to get there with remote slot canyons and stunning rock formations. The Green and Colorado rivers set the scene for relaxing rafting trips.
If you are pressed for time, you can see the park’s highlights in a day—or even as little as half a day—on a tour from Moab. A more leisurely schedule enables you to see the park as part of a multi-day tour from Las Vegas or Salt Lake City through a star-studded lineup of Arizona and Utah parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Capitol Reef, Arches, and the Grand Canyon.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Canyonlands National Park is a must-visit for adventure travelers and families.
- Don’t forget to bring water and sun protection; the desert heat can be intense.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Dress in layers; the temperature can fluctuate wildly in a single day.
- Wheelchair users can access the Island in the Sky and Needles visitor centers and several overlooks.
How to Get There
Canyonlands National Park’s Islands in the Sky district is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Moab, about 40 minutes via UT 313. The easiest way to get there is to drive or join a guided tour from Moab.
When to Get There
The best times to visit Canyonlands National Park are spring (April and May) and fall (September and October), when daytime highs are typically 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 26°C). Expect temperatures over 100°F (37°C) during the summer months.
Situated in its own area of the park, Horseshoe Canyon was added to Canyonlands National Park in 1971. It’s best known for the Great Gallery, a panel of life-sized carvings considered among the most important collections of rock art in North America. The rewarding hike to the Great Gallery covers 7 miles (11 kilometers) roundtrip and takes at least five hours to complete.
Address: Utah, USA
From $ 80
When you first enter the dry expanse of Goblin Valley State Park, you’d be forgiven for looking out and thinking there’s really nothing there. Upon closer inspection of the landscape, however, you realize this empty desert void is filled with a curious, geologic beauty that’s equal parts captivating and strange. Here in the middle of the Great Basin Desert—miles from seemingly everywhere—sandstone spires referred to goblins rise silently up from the Earth. Carved by 170 million years of wind and water erosion, this mushroom dotted, light brown landscape is an inland sea of boulders and pinnacles seemingly frozen in time. Discovered only in the 1920s by ranchers looking for cattle, the site is now protected as part of a fascinating Utah State Park. Walk amidst the towering spires and look at the striated lines, where millennia of torment from nature’s fury have formed what we see today. Or, to spend an evening amidst the hoodoos and beneath a banner of stars, reserve a spot at the desert campground where the enveloping silence of the Martian landscape helps you drift off to sleep.
Goblin Valley State Park is located one hour from Green River and 50 minutes from Hanksville. The visitor center is open daily from 8am-5pm, and admission is $7/car and $16 for a campsite. Temperatures in summer can top 100 degrees, so be sure to pack water, snacks, and supplies if venturing out on the trails.
Address: Green River, Utah 84525, USA
Hours: The visitor center is open daily from 8am-5pm.
Admission: $7/car and $16 for a campsite
From $ 149
With its steep climbs and deep descents, the Hell’s Revenge Trail offers some of the best views of the Colorado River, La Sal Mountains, Negro Bill Canyon, and the Abyss Canyon. At nearly 7.5 miles long, the challenging trail loops through the sandstone and slickrock of the scenic Moab Valley. It takes those brave enough to walk its roller coaster track through narrow canyons, Navajo sandstone formations, and vast pools of water. Views are often exceptional.
Steep hills and tight turns keep visitors to this trail on edge (literally). Names of spots such as Devil’s Driveway, Hell’s Gate, the Tip Over Challenge, and the Escalator, this trail is not for the faint of heart — but those adventurous enough to take it on will be rewarded with sweeping views of the surrounding natural scenery.
The trailhead is located within the Sand Flats Recreation Area, which has a $5 fee to enter. It is important to check trail conditions before beginning a hike. You can also take a mountain bike or 4-WD vehicle through this area.
Address: Moab, Utah, USA
Admission: $5 entrance fee
From $ 106
The red Moenkopi sandstone peaks of the Fisher Towers are one of the most photographed sites in Utah. Their rigid summits stretch high into the open skies and on clear days, the juxtaposition of red rock against brilliant blue makes for an imagine that's worth making the trip just to capture.
Outdoor enthusiasts and avid climbers say challenging passes like Finger of Fate, Titan Tower and Stolen Chimney make Fisher Towers is a destination for thrill seekers, and they caution that the dangerous twists of the famous Cork Screw tower are not for the faint of heart either.
Fisher Towers is located 16 miles southwest of Moab. It is accessible from Route 128, between I-70 and Route 191.
Address: Moab, Utah, USA
From $ 69
According to local legend, this breathtaking mesa with incredible panoramic views of Canyonlands National Park and the roaring Colorado River, was once home to wild mustang herds that old-school cowboys worked tirelessly to break. Today, Dead Horse Point State Park attracts hikers, photographers and mountain bikers seeking out rugged terrain, epic scenery and untouched natural wonder. Intrepid trails offer thrill-seeking bikers a raging shot of adrenaline, while shorter hikes up well-marked paths lead to epic views of some of the country’s most beautiful scenery.
Dead Horse Point State Park is located 248 miles southeast of Salt Lake City near the town of Moab. The park is open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily with a visitor center that is open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. from March through October and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. between October and March. Entrance fee is $10 per vehicle with up to eight passengers.
Address: Utah, USA
Admission: $10 per vehicle
From $ 65
Up a gorge of the Colorado River and between red sandstone cliff walls, Westwater Canyon is one of the best spots for experiencing the whitewater rapids of the the Moab River. Running 17 miles and crossing the Colorado-Utah state border, there are pools and streams for both beginning and advanced rafting levels. There are 10 class III-IV rapids for experienced whitewater rafters. Journeys through the canyon vary from 1,200 foot high canyon walls to black rock cliffs and rapids through gorges, and stops ashore can include exploration of caves, historic cabins, Indian petroglyphs, and some of the oldest geographic layers in the world.
Great Blue Herons, river otters, and bald eagles can also be spotted. The canyon is remote and often serene (when the water is calm) and the variety of scenery and speed makes this is an easy spot to see a lot in a short amount of time.
Westwater Canyon is located between Grand Junction, Colorado and Moab, Utah. Permits are required and limited.
Address: Utah, USA
From $ 197